Lord

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Royal, noble and chivalric ranks
Coronet of an earl
Emperor & Empress
King & Queen consort or Princess consort
Queen & King consort or Prince consort
Queen dowager or Queen mother
Grand Duke & Grand Duchess
Grand Prince & Grand Princess
Archduke & Archduchess
Infante & Infanta
Duke & Duchess
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Freiherr & Freifrau
Baronet & Baronetess
Hereditary Knight
Ritter
Knight & Dame
Nobile, Edler von

Lord is a deferential appellation[1] for a person or deity who has authority, control, or power over others; a master, chief, or ruler.[2][3] In only a few cases is "lord" a substantive title in itself, most commonly that of the Lord of the Manor and certain vestigial titles from the age of feudalism such as Lord of Mann, in other cases it is a generic term applied, for example, to persons who hold a title of the peerage or persons entitled to courtesy titles, or to refer to a group or body of peers.

Contents

Etymology

According to the Oxford Dictionary of English, the etymology of the word can be traced back to the Old English word hlāford which originated from hlāfweard meaning 'bread keeper' or 'loaf-ward', reflecting the Germanic tribal custom of a chieftain providing food for his followers.[4] The appellation "lord" is primarily applied to men, while for women the appellation of "lady" is used. However, this is not universal; the Lord of Mann, a title currently held by the Queen, and female Lord Mayors are examples of women who are styled lord. The word lady originates from a similar structure, believed to have originally meant 'loaf-kneader.'

Used as a prefix

"Lord" may be used in conjunction with a substantive title to denote a superior holder of an otherwise generic title, in such combinations as "Lord Mayor" or "Lord Chief Justice", which mark out the holder as an official worthy of particular respect and of a higher status.

Feudalism

Cleric, knight and peasant

Under the feudal system, lord has a wide, loose and varied meaning. An overlord was the person from whom a landholding or a manor was held by a mesne lord or vassal under various forms of feudal land tenure. The modern term "landlord" is a vestigial survival of this function. A liege lord was a person to whom a vassal owed sworn allegiance. Neither of these terms were titular dignities, rather factual appellations, which described the relationships of two persons within the highly stratified feudal social system. For example, a man might be lord of the manor to his own tenants but a vassal to his own overlord, who in turn was a vassal to the king. Where a knight was a lord of the manor, as was generally the case, he is referred to in contemporary documents as "John (Surname), knight, lord of (manor name)". A feudal baron was a true titular dignity, with the right originally to attend Parliament, yet even a feudal baron, lord of the manor of many manors, was a vassal to the king.

Peerage

Lord is used as a generic term to denote members of the peerage. Five ranks of peer exist in the United Kingdom, in descending order these are duke, marquess, earl, viscount, and baron. The appellation 'Lord' is used most often by barons who are rarely addressed by their formal and legal title of "Baron", a notable exception being during a baron's introduction into the House of Lords when he begins his oath by stating "I, Baron X...of Y...". The correct style is 'Lord (X)', for example, Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron Tennyson, is commonly known as 'Lord Tennyson'. The ranks of marquess, earl and viscounts are commonly also addressed as lord. Dukes use the style 'Duke of (X)', and are not correctly referred to as 'Lord (X)'. Dukes are formally addressed as 'Your Grace', rather than 'My Lord'. In the Peerage of Scotland, the members of the lowest level of the peerage have the substantive title 'Lord of Parliament' rather than baron.

For senior members of the peerage, the appellation of lord is used as a courtesy title for some or all of their children; for example the younger sons of dukes and marquesses are entitled to use the style 'Lord (first name) (surname)'. The titles are courtesy titles, in that the holder is not deemed thereby to hold a peerage, and is a commoner, according to Law of the United Kingdom.

House of Lords

In the UK, the upper house of Parliament is officially termed the House of Peers, but is commonly called the House of Lords (or just 'The Lords'). The rank of baron is the most ancient degree of English nobility and a commoner who is raised directly to a high degree in the peerage, for example a former prime minister who becomes an Earl, is always created a baron at the same time, from historic precedent. Indeed the peerage was anciently termed the baronage before the higher degrees were created. Three different classifications exist:

Judiciary

Until the creation of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom (early 21st century), certain judges sat in the House of Lords by virtue of holding life peerages, and were addressed by the according peerage style. They were known collectively as the Law Lords. Those Law Lords who first held the office of Justice of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom lost the right to sit and vote in the House of Lords, despite retaining their life peerages, upon creation of the Supreme Court. The appellation of 'Lord' is also used to refer to some judges who are not peers in some Commonwealth legal systems. Some such judges, for instance judges of the Court of Appeal of England and Wales, are called 'Lords Justices', or 'Ladies Justices', as the case may be. Other Commonwealth judges, for example judges of Canadian provincial supreme courts, are known only as 'Justices' but are addressed with deference in court as 'My Lord' or 'My Lady' or 'Your Lordship' or 'Your Ladyship'.

Examples of judges who use the appellation "lord" include:

Lord of the Manor

The substantive title of "Lord of the Manor" came into use in the English medieval system of feudalism (or manorialism) following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The title "Lord of the Manor" is a titular feudal dignity which derived its force from the existence and operation of a manorial court or court baron at which he himself or his steward presided. To the tenants of a manor their lord was a man who commanded on occasion the power of exercising capital punishment over them. The term invariably used in contemporary mediaeval documents is simply "lord of X", X being the name of the manor. The term "Lord of the Manor" is a recent usage of historians to distinguish such lords from feudal barons and other powerful persons referred to in ancient documents variously as "Sire" (mediaeval French), "Dominus" (Latin), "Lord" etc. The substantive title of "Lord of the Manor" is not generally recognised today in the law of England and Wales, and the legal concept of the manor having been abolished when the manorial courts were abolished, the residents of a former manor owe no legal recognition to a person who holds such title. However, rare modern legal cases have been won by persons claiming rights as lords of the manor over village greens. The heads of many ancient English land-owning families have continued to be theoretical lords of the manor of lands they have inherited, but to attempt to use such title in a social situation would be incorrect usage. For those who insist upon it the UK Identity and Passport Service will include such purported titles on a British passport as a mere "observation" e.g. 'The Holder is the Lord of the Manor of X' provided the holder can provide documentary evidence of ownership.[6]

Laird

The Scottish title Laird is a shortened form of 'laverd' which is an old Scottish word deriving from an Anglo-Saxon term meaning 'Lord' and is also derived from the middle English word 'Lard' also meaning 'Lord'. 'Laird' is a hereditary title for the owner of a landed estate in the United Kingdom and is a title of gentry. The title of Laird may carry certain local or feudal rights, although unlike a Scottish Lordship of Parliament, a Lairdship has not always carried voting rights, either in the historic Parliament of Scotland or, after unification with the Kingdom of England, in the British House of Lords.

Other

Various other high offices of state in the United Kingdom, Commonwealth and Republic of Ireland are prefixed with the deferential appellation of "lord" such as Lord Chancellor, Lord Privy Seal, Lord President of the Council and Lord Mayor. Holders of these offices are not ex officio peers, although the holders of some of the offices were in the past always peers.

Non-English equivalents

In most cultures in Europe an equivalent appellation denoting deference exists. The French term Mon Seigneur ("My Lord"), shortened to the modern French Monsieur derives directly from the Latin seniorem, meaning "elder, senior".[7] From this Latin source derived directly also the Italian Signore, the Spanish Señor, the Portuguese Senhor. Non-romance languages have their own equivalents: Dutch Meneer/Mijnheer/De Heer (as in: aan de heer Joren Jansen), German Herr, Hungarian Úr, Greek Kyrie or to the Polish Pan.

Religion

"Lord" is used as a title of deference for various gods or deities. The earliest recorded use of Lord in the English language in a religious context was by English Bible translators such as Bede. It was widely used in the King James Bible translated in the 17th century, see also Jesus is Lord.

See also

References

  1. ^ "Appellation" is a preferable term to "title", as title may imply prima facie an official "title of nobility"; the present article seeks to emphasise that "lord" is not in general such a title, except in rare cases, but is rather an unofficial or informal term of deference
  2. ^ Definition expands on: "lord." Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. 28 Dec. 2011. <Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/lord>.
  3. ^ "This word means in general one with power and authority, a master or ruler...The word is used for anyone whom it was desired to address deferentially" Cruden's Complete Concordance to the Bible, revised edition, 1992, "Lord", p.390
  4. ^ Oxford English Dictionary Second Edition (Revised 2005), p.1036
  5. ^ http://www.supremecourt.gov.uk/docs/pr_1013.pdf
  6. ^ http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/agencies-public-bodies/ips/passports-policy-publications/observations-passports?view=Binary
  7. ^ Larousse Dictionnaire de la Langue Francaise, Paris, 1979, p.1713
  8. ^ This usage follows the Jewish practice of substituting the spoken Hebrew word "Adonai" for YHWH when read aloud.
  9. ^ NASB (1995). ""Preface to the New American Standard Bible"". New American Standard Bible (Updated Edition). Anaheim, California: Foundation Publications (for the Lockman Foundation). Archived from the original on 2006-12-07. http://web.archive.org/web/20061207004013/http://www.bible-researcher.com/nasb-preface.html. "There is yet another name which is particularly assigned to God as His special or proper name, that is, the four letters YHWH (Exodus 3:14 and Isaiah 42:8). This name has not been pronounced by the Jews because of reverence for the great sacredness of the divine name. Therefore, it has been consistently translated LORD. The only exception to this translation of YHWH is when it occurs in immediate proximity to the word Lord, that is, Adonai. In that case it is regularly translated GOD in order to avoid confusion."